Ranking 49ers' five best rookie years since 2010 season
George Kittle, 2017: Kittle showed his path to stardom with 43 receptions for 515 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games as a fifth-round draft pick.
Reuben Foster, 2017: The talent always has been there for Foster. That was clear when he recorded 72 tackles in just 10 games as a rookie and made the All-Rookie Team.
Dante Pettis, 2018: Pettis seemed prime for a big year last season after averaging 17.3 yards per catch and hauling in five TDs as a rookie second-round pick. He'll have to prove himself this season at a crowded position.
Fred Warner, 2018: Warner started all 16 games as a rookie third-round pick and recorded 124 tackles while played 99 percent of the 49ers' defensive snaps.
Dre Greenlaw, 2019: Greenlaw looks like a steal in the fifth round. He came up incredibly clutch and had 92 tackles in 16 regular-season game while stepping in for the injured Kwon Alexander.
5: DeForest Buckner, 2016
Buckner was the lone bright spot on a terrible 49ers squad. Buckner led the 49ers in sacks (6) and QB hits (18) as a rookie. He also recorded 73 tackles (still a career high), seven tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries.
The former Oregon Duck lived up to his billing as the No. 7 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and made the All-Rookie Team.
4: Deebo Samuel, 2019
Samuel had a historic rookie season in Santa Clara. He set 49ers rookie record for receptions (57) and his 802 receiving yards are second to just Jerry Rice (927).
The South Carolina product also proved to be dangerous with the ball in his hands on sweeps, reverses and end-arounds, rushing for 159 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season. He set a Super Bowl record for receivers when he rushed for 53 yards on three carries against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Samuel and coach Kyle Shanahan make the perfect pairing, and the second-round draft pick should only improve.
3: Eric Reid, 2013
The 49ers took Reid with the No. 18 pick in the 2013 draft and he hasn't looked as good since that season. Reid made his lone Pro Bowl as a rookie when he had four interceptions, 11 passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and 77 tackles.
His interceptions, passes defensed and fumble recoveries still all are the best of his seven-year career.
2: Nick Bosa, 2019
It was awfully hard leaving the 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year off the top of this list.
Bosa came into the draft with injury concerns and those continued in camp. Once the regular season began, however, he was a star. As a rookie, Bosa was the key ingredient to lead San Francisco's defense to the Super Bowl. He finished the year with nine sacks, 25 QB hits, 16 tackles for loss, two passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
Bosa even added four more sacks in three playoff games. He was dominant from Day 1 and could be the top pass-rusher in the entire NFL for years to come.
1: Aldon Smith, 2011
This was an impossible coin flip. Smith or Bosa? It's incredibly close to call.
Here are Smith's stats from the 2011 season: 14 sacks (49ers record), 27 QB hits, 13 tackles for loss, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He did this all while never technically starting a game as a rookie, too.
He added two more sacks and six QB hits in the playoffs that season, too. Von Miller edged out Smith, 39 to 11, in first-place votes to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Smith and Bosa both had historic rookie seasons for the 49ers. There haven't been many players as talented on the field as Smith, who is looking to make a comeback this year with the Dallas Cowboys after four seasons away from football.